Chapter CHAPTER 24
"Mrs. Carrington?" I hear, accompanied by kisses, wake me. I giggle, turning to the other side of the
"Wake up." Luke says. "Noooooo!" I reply as I use the pillow to cover my face. He removes it and drags
the duvet off my body. I gasp, getting up immediately, "I'm naked!" I try grabbing the duvet from him but
he's not having it.
"Fine." I say as I get up, heading for the bathroom. He drags me back and gives me a back hug. I hold
his hands in front, as I place kisses on each of them.
"I'm so tiny, compared to you." I say
"Exactly. The perfect fit." We move to the window opposite the right side of the bed and the sunlight
falls on us.
"The weather's so nice today, I feel like going for a run and having a picnic by the lake." I say, caressing
"I want to do anything you want to do, my love."
I break the hug, turning to face him, "Right after we shower. I smell like you."
He raises his brow, playing a small laugh, "So you don't like that? Really, wow? My feelings are hurt."
I laugh too, "No, silly. What I meant to say is, I smell like sex." I lean in for a kiss and he grabs my bare
rump as he begins to kiss back.
Luke is already in the shower and the water is already running as I join him. I touch his back and he
becomes aware of my presence. I walk into the water, pressing my hair down.
"I promise to always love you, no matter what." He says, as he cups my jaw.
"Me too, my love. Nothing can make me unlove you. You are my last love and my one and only." My
mind drifts off to the first time Luke raped me, when I had mocked him about him not being the first
man in my life and my heart sinks. Why did we start off so negatively?
"Stop." I say in mid tears as I step out of the shower. I begin to sob uncontrollably as I make my way
into the room. Luke rushes out after me, but I really can't make out what he's saying.
"Get out." I yell, as I turn to face him. "Get out!"
Before going downstairs, I check myself out in the mirror. My hair is still neat, my golden flare skirt, still
well ironed and my blouse, still intact. The only thing missing is my signature pink lip stain. I apply a
thin coat and head downstairs. I ball my hands into fists as I approach Luke. He is facing the opposite
direction, his back turned to me. He is talking to Aunt Ruth. Aunt Ruth turns, "My darling." She says
and Luke turns. He looks at me, scanning my face as I take my eyes elsewhere. I couldn't look at him.
"Well? Go say hello to your husband!" Aunt Ruth says, giggling. I look at Luke and although I'm not
sure if I'm being paranoid, it kills me to see the cold expression he's giving me.
I move closer to him, "Welcome home." is all I can say. Suddenly, he swoops in to kiss me, but I take
my face away and move over to aunt Ruth. She has an awkward expression on her face. I probably
made her uncomfortable by refusing to kiss Luke.
"Hope I'm not intruding?" I hear a familiar voice say and immediately I know who it is. Laurel walks in
and gives me her usual dirty face. I had to play it cool. I turn around to look at him, he has a gigantic
smile plastered on his face. Aunt Ruth squeezes my hand. I look at her, and as though my facial
expression states that I'd give her an explanation later, she lets go of my hand.
I move over to Luke, hold his collar as I tiptoe to kiss him. Thankfully, he lets me. My body sparks with
different emotions and I keep kissing Luke. I needed to make that move so Rocky could see that there
was no chance of him and I getting together ever again.
I turn my head to face Rocky, "Honestly, you are. I'd like to have today with my husband. Alone." I look
at Luke, "Look, I'm sorry for how I acted, there's no justification for it. I-I can't even explain what
happened but the most important thing is that I love you."I look at Rocky,
"Nothing changes that. No one changes that."
I hug him and he hugs me back, "I love you too, Natalie, but—I break the hug as I wonder what he has
to say. There should be no buts.
"But what?" I ask, tucking my hair behind my ear. I look at Rocky and his facial expression sends chills
down my spine.
"Well, Caleb here will be staying with us for a few da—
"What?" I ask, perplexed at his suggestion. I try to compose myself as much as possible, "Why? You
didn't discuss this with me earlier." I say, in a whisper like tone.
Luke takes me to the corner as he tries to explain but my mind is on Rocky, living under the same roof
as Rocky. Luke keeps explaining, but all I can hear is muffled sounds. I felt so frustrated, defeated and
"Natalie, Natalie, Natalie?" Luke calls, shaking me gently. "What's wrong? Are you okay?" If I kept on
acting weird whenever Rocky was around, Luke would notice and I couldn't risk letting him find out
about Rocky. Especially about the kiss I had shared with Rocky.
"Did you hear me? He has nowhere— "Yes." I cut in, giving the best smile I can. "Hormones. My
hormones have me acting out foolishly. Yes, of course, he can stay. It's not even my house."
Luke's shoulders drop as he gives a disappointing look. "What do you mean by that, Natalie? You know
that's not true. Everything I own is yours just as much as they're mine, you should know that."
"I'm sorry, but you don't show it." I respond as I storm off. I was cold, scared, lonely and angry.
Somewhere in my mind, I knew the real reason behind wanting Rocky far away from me wasn't solely
to prevent Luke from finding out, but because I was afraid of what I would do if he was constantly
Laurel, Emmanuelle and Ryn, one of the helps are together in the kitchen. They all turn to look at me
as I enter. I smile at them, "Well, let's start preparing dinner, shall we? I'm thinking steak, peppered
chicken, lasagna and Thai rice with Worcester and shrimp sauce."
Emmanuelle smiles, "Anything you want Mrs Natalie."
I give her the okay hand sign as she calls me by my name. "Where are the bell peppers?" I ask, as I
pick a knife from the knife rack.
"Did Luke day you can pick the meals? I've been deciding the meals we eat way before you came, so I
think it's only fair that I continue doing so, since you've taken everything else from me."
"Exactly. Way before I came. Now, I'm here and this is my house, so I get to decide what I eat and what
my husband eats. Not you." I say to her and Emmanuele and Ryn giggle. Laurel looks at them,
shooting daggers at them with her eyes. She looks back at me, "I hate you so much!" She says as she
storms off. I didn't hate Laurel, but I didn't like her either.
"You need help with that?" Emmanuele asks.
"No, no." I say as I slice the green pepper. "Why?" I ask, Emmanuele. "You think because I'm from a
rich family, I don't know how to cook or do chores?" I ask jokingly.
"No. Well. . . honestly, you don't look like you would know your way around the kitchen. You're too
refined and sophisticated."
"What? No. Just because I enjoyed the nice things in life, doesn't mean I wouldn't know to do basic
things. My mother never taught me how to cook but I did learn from Aunt Ruth. I consider her my
mother, actually, because she's taught me some pretty useful life lessons."
"I bet you look just like your mother."
"Sadly, I do, but not character wise. I'm more of my dad character wis." I say, casually thinking about
my father. I would give him a call afterwards.
"Well, thank God for that. You are a very lovable person. At first, when you came to the manor,
everyone disliked you because we all thought you would be stuck up, but we started seeing and
hearing you talk nicely to everyone and we were all surprised."
"Really? But Laurel doesn't like me much." I say, pouring the sliced peppers into the transparent glass
"Well, Laurel and Luke practically grew up together since they were teenagers from what I know, and
she's loved him ever since."
"Well, how does Luke feel about that? Does he know? Did they ever. . .?" I query, mentally preparing
myself for her answers.
She chuckles, "No, Mrs. Natalie, they never did—well, as far as I know and, yes, Lucas knows but he
loves her like a sister, but you know Laurel. She's strong headed, she won't ever give up."
I sigh in relief, "Well, she better. I'm Luke's better half now and she has to respect our boundaries." I
say as I drop the knife on the counter and turn to leave. I turn around, genuinely smiling "It was nice
having this conversation, Emmanuele."